President Nicolas Maduro, who conceptualized and launched the cryptocurrency with the help of select officials within his controversial government, took the decision amidst the financial crisis that the country has been facing since the start of his reign, a problem which has become worse as time progresses.
The Petro Solution to fuel their economy
The Petro was launched for its presale just a day ago, but President Maduro tweeted not long after its launch that it had raised more than $735 million in a day.
However, the comments were met with skepticism from almost all sectors that were not under the hand of the Maduro-led government, since despite sharing a few words in his tweet, Maduro did not provide any specifics or details about the investors that made the $735 million presale possible, and no evidence was presented by any other associated body of the government through any online or physical property.
The negative reception for Petro does not help its status any further. Experts from the cryptocurrency industry are wary of Petro’s present functions and its future standing due to how it originated and who is spearheading it; the Venezuelan Congress has called the cryptocurrency an “illegal” initiative, and the citizens of the country have been angry towards the government for not taking any tangible steps to fix the poverty within the region and instead launching a cryptocurrency that will not help anyone but the executive branch of the government.
However, none of this is stopping Maduro or his trustworthy officials, who are now going to move forward as per their plan to have Petro go public by March 2018.
Maduro also maintains an air of success for the cryptocurrency, having mentioned a few times that it will help pull the country out of its current problems.
Petro versus Superman
Speaking after the presale event, Maduro mentioned that the cryptocurrency could take on a beloved American superhero easily.
“Today, a cryptocurrency is being born that can take on Superman.” He stated during his address to the Venezuelan nation, referring to the U.S. through that allegory.
The jab, even though misplaced due to the gravity of the situation, was expressive of Maduro’s frustration with the U.S. government, which due to various issues and violations of international laws put sanctions on Venezuela that have kept its government from availing debt relief options that were previously open to it. The sanctions were imposed due to the government’s various actions to ignore the democratic process in the country.
Steven Mnuchin, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, mentioned in a statement:
“As the Venezuelan government continues to disregard the will of its people, our message remains clear: the United States will not stand aside while the Maduro regime continues to destroy democratic order and prosperity in Venezuela.”
By launching a cryptocurrency that does not fall under the regulations of international and central banking institutions, the Venezuelan government not only aims to slip through the sanctions but also supplement its dying fiat, Bolivar – which has faced hyperinflation to the point where the government decided to issue a 100,000 banknote for it.
However, seeing the bleak response by the Venezuelan citizens, it remains to be seen how Petro will fare upon its public launch, as it does not seem that it will be received in the country with the same fervor as Bitcoin – on which the Maduro government had cracked down as well.